Joanna’s Pick: “Slow Dance”
There were other potential contenders (Sagres, Dark Bird Is Home, Timothy) but this was the tune that had me coming back the most. I guess I’m also really just a sucker for mid-tempo tunes driven by steady percussion. I fell in love with the decision to leave in the sound of him clearing his throat. And it helps that lyrics like “and in the sunlight I just can’t believe your face” and “and you smell like smoke and honey in my arms” are so very charming. Definitely not actually a slow dance, but a good little jam to dance to with your sweetheart.
Chad’s Pick: “Sagres”
I think “Slow Dance” and “Darkness of the Dream” are the album’s jams, but “Sagres” stands out for me because Matsson stepped way, way out of his boy-with-acoustic comfort zone on this album, and the lush musical landscape of “Sagres” in particular takes his trademark sound to new and well-textured heights.
Lukas’s Pick: “Darkness of the Dream”
Frontman Kristian Matsson has one of the most interesting and compelling voices I’ve heard in a long time, and his warbly tones are on full display on this track. A wall of bright, jangly acoustic guitars and mandolin backs Matsson’s voice as the tune comes to a grand climax of horns and reverb-drenched electric guitar. “Darkness of the Dream” is a big tune, sonically and emotionally, with a great lo-fi, home video quality that makes it a definite jam.
Joanna’s Pick: “On These Days”
This RPM is filled with great tunes and incredibly creative ideas. But “On These Days” is my jam choice. Everything, literally everything, about this track is so tasty. I am so, so tired right now but this tune manages to get me grooving around the living room. And I’m suddenly fantasizing about a road trip so that I can listen to this while cruising highways in whatever weather. The driving percussion and vocal effects are hypnotic. I’m totally entranced. Can’t… stop… spinning.
Chad’s Pick: “I Need a Break”
This prolific and talented couple put an original twist on a familiar genre, the way, say, Quasi (another couple) do. The meticulous polish put on the recordings can’t be undersung. There are so many tracks on this song, that are so well built, mixed, and subtly stacked, it’s proof a song could always be a little better; there’s always a small hole in the background of a chorus that could use a shaker or a guitar fill, or a back-up vocal. Something. And because these two clearly embrace this recording philosophy, and took the time to properly build and record these songs, stand outs like “I Need a Break” are solid, satisfying, immediately likeable songs. There’s a great build in the song too: restrained, engaging, and worth the wait it promises to deliver on. Also: serious shout-out to the innovative percussion in “On These Days.”
Lukas’s Pick: “I Hear Your Heart Now”
Far and away, “I Hear Your Heart Now” is my pick for a standout jam from this record. This tune is dark, brooding, and driving, with raw and emotional lyrics that hang on strums of the detuned acoustic guitars. As the song builds, the drums and punchy bass settle into a laid-back groove and sound a bit like Hayden in the best way, adding the best bits of grunge and folk. This one is worth hearing.
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